Why Are Some People So Intent On Making Netflix More Like Traditional TV?

from the when-evolution-isn't-good-enough dept

If you recall the responses to Netflix's botched DVD unit spinoff attempt or the outrage over those price hikes from a few years ago, there were many folks who expected Netflix to implode long before it became the powerhouse it is today. According to the latest Nielsen data, roughly 37% of all households now have a Netflix account, and the company plans to reach 200 countries by the end of this year. Netflix has largely revolutionized television, yet for some reason there's a contingent of folks who just can't stop complaining that Netflix should be more like traditional cable.

Case in point, Wired complained a few years ago that Netflix wasn't complete until it implemented a channel surfing feature, because having the choice of a mountain of different options was apparently too difficult. Similarly there's been seemingly endless lamentation over the last few years about how Netflix's choice to release seasons all at once is bad because it kills the "water cooler marketing buzz" created as office workers prattle about each week's show plotlines. Of course, as noted previously, people apparently love to binge watch, and there's absolutely nothing wrong in giving the people what they want.

Still, the idea that Netflix isn't "cable enough" never seems to go out of style. The latest example comes courtesy of Rex Sorgatz over at The Message, who not only laments that Netflix has destroyed the "water cooler" chatter that helps drive show marketing buzz, but complains that Netflix's release style ensconces him in a cocoon of spoiler paranoia, from whence he's unable to hold any conversations about TV programs without spoilers:
"But you see the problem: We can’t talk about buzzy Netflix shows because our schedules are out of sync. The rough expectations for knowing if your friends are on episode 12 or episode 1 have been destroyed. Netflix thinks it has performed a noble act by releasing the entire season en masse, but it has actually wreaked havoc on the best part of television: talking about television."
Has Netflix really done that? Really? It seems to me Netflix is giving people what they want -- a whole lot of content to be consumed on whatever schedule people see fit. As Frank Underwood himself noted in 2013, dumping an entire season at once gives viewers the power to do whatever they want. Still, Sorgatz proceeds to argue that this is a "problem" in desperate need of fixing, and as such, he's offered this solution:
"This, I propose, is what Netflix, Amazon, and HBO should do. They need to bring back the schedule, updated to modern lives. That schedule should be: Every day, a new episode is released, always at the same time, and blind to time zones. Imagine if House of Cards had played out over two weeks, like a mini-series...Can you imagine? The conversation around this viewing window would be massive, almost unbearable. Fans would feel compelled to catch up every night, so as to be involved in tomorrow’s discussion. And if you missed a day or two, catching up would be painless."
Except if you think about it, that actually solves nothing. If I'm able to watch the show on Tuesday night but you've got an evening cheese club meeting, I'll still spoil the show for you when we meet on Wednesday. Here's a crazier idea: we just accept that Netflix is very different from the traditional cable experience (which is still available if that's your preference by the way), and that this is a good thing? It seems so much simpler than endlessly complaining that Netflix isn't more like a cable TV industry most of us agree is in desperate need of a sharp kick in the ass.
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Filed Under: internet, streaming, tv
Companies: netflix


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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 6:42am

    Two things Netflix did to change the world when it comes to watching a TV show:

    -It removed 22 minutes of ads despite being a paid service. Hulu + and cable television can't even come close to doing the same thing.

    -It put the power of viewing in my control, allowing me to actually enjoy watching shows again.

    Remember NBC's "Thursday Night Must See TV"? Yeah, so do I, and it was HORRIBLE. Unless you had an accompanying guide (most had TV guide), you had absolutely no control what episode aired that evening. Repeat? Pushed back because of a long-running football game?

    Then there was the idiocy of the "break", where weeks would go by without any new show, allowing the very few people who didn't own a VCR/DVR to "catch up".

    The entire television industry was broken since the 50s. It's thanks to technology it finally fixed itself so a show can be enjoyed, not aired based on when advertisers wanted eyeballs to their products.

    There are plenty in this industry who should take notes from Netflix. Right, Hulu?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:02am

      Re:

      And this is the problem with the traditional models. They try to control what viewers watch and when they watch it because it's all a part of some marketing plan and windowed releases and buzz campaign. You don't need these things if your shows are good enough. The buzz happens anyway if it's good. People discover shows from meme images on Facebook or friends bragging about binge watching a series. And then the consumer can choose to watch it as they like, binge watching or delaying gratification as they choose.

      The traditional model before internet streaming existed meant that there were a bunch of shows that I just never saw and many I never heard of. Who would waste money on buying an expensive DVD set for a series they never saw or heard of? The traditional model was broken.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 6:43am

    *sigh* Sorry for the unclosed bold. I forgot to preview first.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:31am

      Re:

      I think your unclosed bold is apt.

      I don't understand why when one pays for Hulu they are still subjected to ad breaks. What is the payment for?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:00am

        Re: Re:

        Lighting cigars.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        sorrykb (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:53am

        Re: Re:

        Ah, but unlike broadcast or cable TV, with Hulu you get ad breaks in really weird places. That costs extra.

        (Seriously, Hulu, mid-scene ad breaks?)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          beltorak (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I can probably help answer this with my vast store of rampant speculation.

          TV Shows are for the most part created with the understanding of needing to support advertisement slots. They script, direct, and shoot around these blocks of times just like you work around a physical pillar. So plot developments and scene changes are broken into these time boundaries, like acts in a play. Some shows try to stretch a dramatic moment over the commercial break, so you leave with a closeup of someone's puzzled mug, and come back to the exact same spot in time. (Some shows have also adapted to this in the extreme by replaying a few moments before the ad breaks; then there are shows that rewrite history during the replay... but ignore those for now.)

          Now we throw in consumer devices that were created to automatically skip ads in recorded shows. It has to have some way of detecting these ads (if it is to be worth a damn), and to do that it probably uses some measure of the signal that indicates the commercial video is not "native" to the show. Perhaps it will detect an excessive number of black frames with zero audio, or an audio base frequency shift, or the picture colorspace is different. (I have no idea how Dish's Hopper works btw. rampant speculation.)

          To combat this (consumers are not seeing our ads! o the horror!) the show producers and ad networks try to make the ads feel like as much a part of the show as possible, at least as far as being able to fool the software.

          So the hulu devs have a couple of easy choices. They can just automatically insert ads at certain time markers (offset a bit to avoid splitting any contiguous voice patterns), or they can try to find a scene break where the background is drastically different. Or (as I don't watch hulu either) they can go the extremely cheap route and just put ads in at 18:00, 28:00, 38:00, and 48:00....

          Slightly off topic, even though I don't watch a lot of TV anymore (or movies really), I am occasionally blasted with a thought while watching a movie - you know the cognitive-emotional roller coaster you go through when a great movie is adapted to a crappy cable network and they shoehorn the ad break into the last part and it completely destroys the flow of the plot's tension? Yeah, at those moments I am thinking "this is exactly where Lifetime will put 5 minutes of ads"... and it has the exact same effect of pulling me out of the movie for a bit.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            tqk (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I can probably help answer this with my vast store of rampant speculation.

            I'm a bottomless pit of useless information. We should combine our skills. We'd be invincible.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              tqk (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 3:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              John F., you should get in on this. We could get rich riding this wave. I vote you PR guy. It needs diplomacy and reasonableness. Almost said "reasonablemess", sorry.

              It could be fun. :-)

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 3:31pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I'm so pleased that you thought of me! You're right, I too am an avid collector of useless information that I love to regurgitate for my victims.

                But I think I like "reasonablemess" better.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Oblate (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:36am

      Re:

      I thought the unclosed bold was supposed to be a cliffhanger, with the resolution scheduled for next week. I guess your posting model allowed it to be resolved immediately.

      Seems like I'll have to find something else to discuss around the water cooler (and I'll have to find a water cooler...).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        PRMan, 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:45am

        Re: Re:

        I actually heard people talking about last night's TV show for the first time in YEARS (probably a decade) the other day.

        They were talking about the new season of House of Cards. First they synced up how much each person watched and then they talked about those episodes. They didn't seem to notice a problem.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          beltorak (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          wait, are you trying to tell me that people just adapted to a new situation? there was no act of congress, no court order, no executive branch facilitation? what kind of crazy bullshit are you trying to pawn off on us here?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RadioactiveSmurf (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 7:34am

    Here's a better idea. Find something better to talk about than television shows. Sure it's fun but this problem existed LONG before Netflix. We don't watch the same shows? I have HBO and you don't? Well shoot now what do we do??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:25am

      Re:

      That. Or he can isolate himself in the mountains and spare the rest of humanity from his bullshit. Spoilers free!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:27am

      Re:

      We could talk about Cheese Club...

      ...but y'know, first rule of Cheese Club is to not...

      ...dammit, I've been kicked out of Cheese Club.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:40am

      Re:

      Good point. Should have included it in the article.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:15am

      Re:

      Here's a better idea. Find something better to talk about than television shows.

      Actually there are many things to talk about that don't suffer from this problem, Sport, Technology, Science, Politics - and if you must have something that is contrived by TV programme makers there is always reality shows.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:20am

      Re: Let's talk about Tax Evasion

      Tax evasion refers to attempts by individuals, corporations or trusts to avoid paying the total amount of taxes owed through illegal means, known as tax evasion fraud.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Andrew D. Todd, 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:31am

      "Long Before NetFlix," to RadioactiveSmurf, #3

      Here is an old book about television from before the internet:

      George Comstock, Television in America, Second Edition, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, California, 1991

      A study by a professional psychologist. Comstock's finding was that television was something people watched when they didn't have anything better to do. Thus, by definition, heavy television watchers were the terminally bored and culturally deprived. No free adult watched any program with any kind of continuity, because that would have meant forgoing an opportunity to do something else. Likewise, no one was prepared to bring any kind of mental effort to a program, because that would have been incompatible with entertaining the possibility of going off and doing something else. The archetypal television-watchers were the patients in the dayroom at the state mental hospital. Television was an essentially childish medium, which had no real effect, for good or ill, on anyone except children. In the latter case, the extremes were represented by Sesame Street on the one hand, and certain kinds of advertising on the other. Television was "much ado about nothing."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:46am

        Re: "Long Before NetFlix," to RadioactiveSmurf, #3

        "The archetypal television-watchers were the patients in the dayroom at the state mental hospital."

        I still think of people who spend a lot of time watching television this way.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Andrew D. Todd, 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:04am

          Re: Re: "Long Before NetFlix," to RadioactiveSmurf, #3

          Of course, MAD Magazine had pointed all this out, but Comstock put it on a scientific basis in a series of books, starting in, I think, 1975. You know, giving children Inkblot tests before and after they watched television shows, and so on and so forth.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:39am

        Re: "Long Before NetFlix," to RadioactiveSmurf, #3

        Television was an essentially childish medium, which had no real effect, for good or ill, on anyone except children.

        Truth. And the reason was because viewers weren't in control. Producers had to assume viewers couldn't follow longer story arcs, so most programs were designed to be simple and self contained.

        We called it The Idiot Box for a reason.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:26am

    it has actually wreaked havoc on the best part of television: talking about television.

    The first rule of television club: don't talk about television club.

    Honestly, I would assume that this guy is socially inept if the only thing he can come up with to talk about it television.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:31am

    I like this one:

    Netflix broke the unbreakable social rules for how we talk about television in the age of social media

    Excuse me, Netflix RE-WROTE the social rules for how we talk about television in the age of social media by BREAKING all of the rules forced upon us by the big media companies before the age of social media.

    Old man, please go back to yelling at clouds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:45am

      Re:

      Right? Apparently nobody is talking about "House of Cards" and the entire two months of public obsession was in my imagination.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:46am

        Re: Re:

        Right, right? Even though I couldn't care less about that series specifically I kept hearing noises about it for a good while. People were even surprised I had Netflix and hadn't seen it. And I'm not in America.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You're not alone. I've seen article after article pushed out by tech reporting outfits, but I don't care about pop culture, so I've no idea, nor care about, whatever buzz the popularizers are trying to push. "Meh" or "Yawn" pretty much says it for me. Haven't even looked. I've got interesting things to do, sorry.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:33am

    Simple fix that Netflix could do...

    ... if they wanted to. He does have one good point: one of the best parts of TV is talking about TV.

    So add per-episode comment threads. Done and done. Now you can talk as long as you like about the episode you just finished watching with other folks who have also just watched it.

    (Netflix may actually already do this, I don't know)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:49am

      Re: Simple fix that Netflix could do...

      I'm wondering if Netflix has a video stream of that little white dot that appeared and gradually faded away, in the middle of your black & white TV screen when you turned it off.

      That's the one thing I miss most about "traditional TV."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:07am

        Re: Re: Simple fix that Netflix could do...

        Just connect a rabbit ear antenna and you can watch the Cosmic Microwave Background left over from the Big Bang, live to you 24*7*365.25.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          beltorak (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: Simple fix that Netflix could do...

          i thought modern TV sets just show the blue screen when they detect too much "static"? sad really, used to be a good way to illustrate how much radiation there is in everyday life.

          we should *totally* bring back '80s style television just for that reason!!1!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            tqk (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Simple fix that Netflix could do...

            i thought modern TV sets just show the blue screen when they detect too much "static"?

            Play around with the buttons/settings. It might still work. Disable CATV settings. :-)
            sad really, used to be a good way to illustrate how much radiation there is in everyday life.

            You know you get a bigger dose from enjoying sex than your dentist's XRay machine, yet they make you wear a lead impregnated cook's uniform to do it? Ah, the good old days, when people weren't quite so credulous. Not you, btw.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              beltorak (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 3:50pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Simple fix that Netflix could do...

              oh yeah, i don't doubt it. i used to be a navy nuc so i am aware of a lot of sources of radiation all around us.

              but in defense of the lead aprons, while today those machines don't put out a lot of xrays (http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/pdf/sfty_xray.pdf), i don't think the same thing was true decades ago when the laws that required them were made. Unfortunately I don't have any ready sources; and it wouldn't surprise me to know that am xray or two was even back then comfortably under background. we are talking about the same public/country that put a 30 year moratorium on new nuclear reactors after three mile island, even tho no appreciable effect of the leaked contamination or radiation has been measured. but, you know, "radiation", it's invisible, and it causes cancer, so it is scary.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Simple fix that Netflix could do...

            i thought modern TV sets just show the blue screen when they detect too much "static"?

            Isn't a blue a Microsoft trade mark?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:53am

      Re: Simple fix that Netflix could do...

      Why Netflix? there's a huge numbers of places to talk about the latest episodes from social media among like-minded friends to sites like TV.com to venues totally dedicated to the show in question.

      Given that many people are watching through devices that either aren't optimal or even possible for commenting while watching the show (Apple/Amazon TV boxes, games consoles), why not just use your preferred venue and let the rest of us go on unspoiled?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:20am

      Re: Simple fix that Netflix could do...

      He does have one good point: one of the best parts of TV is talking about TV.

      Totally. I like talking about TV: Like how full of ads it is, furthers blatantly some agendas, doesn't show content its bosses don't agree with, fucking beeps over things people say, how it tends to gravitate to the lowest common denominator and so on. There's plenty to talk about TV.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sneeje (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:45am

    Wait, cheese club?

    What is this cheese club of which you speak? How can I get in???? TELL ME!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:46am

    "They need to bring back the schedule, updated to modern lives."

    Modern lives that include a wide range of entertainment and other lifestyle options to suit everyone's needs, so that they're no longer beholden to a TV schedule, perhaps?

    "Imagine if House of Cards had played out over two weeks, like a mini-series...Can you imagine?"

    Yes, I can imagine waiting for the season to finish and watching it all at once like I do most shows. Or, watch a couple of episodes here and there when I have some spare time because my life doesn't revolve around TV. Assuming some small-minded prick hasn't ruined the latest episodes for me, anyway.

    What an idiotic argument. "People don't like what I like in the same way I like it!".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:59am

      Re:

      The modern schedule is no schedule.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:08am

        Re: Re:

        The modern schedule is no schedule.

        Very "Ceci n'est pas un pipe", and quite true.

        My Netflix watch list is not much of a schedule; there are some shows on it that haven't been watched yet, and they're over a year old.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:53am

    let's talk about video games!

    Monster hunter 4 for me is becoming too much hard work hunting monsters. If only there was a form of media that lets me be entertained without me doing anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MrTroy (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 7:44pm

      Re: let's talk about video games!

      There are so many idle games out there that it's a little scary. Some of them even let you spend money on that game that you don't play!

      It's kind of funny that a game as a "time waster" can become a little too literal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:55am

    All this shows is how well trained people are to consume the media that big corporations want you to consume, when they want you to consume it, and how to consume it.

    It shows how futile the efforts are of all those people that call for a boycott of the RIAA/MPAA, because the majority of the populace is quite happy with the old ways.

    People get stuck in their habits, resisting all change and progress until their hand is forced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:08am

    “I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
    1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
    2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
    3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

    ― Douglas Adams

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:14am

    What about the 80% (imagined number) of people who are never anywhere near a water cooler? (And why don't office types save that for an actual break? Or would that cut into their porn surfing time?) ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:15am

    Advertising

    So what I'm hearing is "word of mouth advervising is vital to a show's success."

    Hmm... there are some other things that could be at play.

    By assuming that the viewer needs a recap, you can reuse footage from previous episodes to fill in a few minutes of this weeks episode; for a long running series, this means the occasional flash-back episode.
    The viewers still get their show and there's a lower cost for production... I'm sure someone would point out how this is 'better' for the viewer, since it means more money for future episodes and 'blah, blah, blah'...

    Doesn't make sense to me, but I guess I'm not qualified to decide how and when I want to watch a television show... I suppose I'll have to trust the folks who run TV...

    ... ... *snicker*

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:06am

      Re: Advertising

      The recap is not just full episodes, but much of traditional tv includes recaps after every commercial, along with previews before every commercial. Seems like they're down to about 12 minutes of unique footage per show.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:25am

    Let's face it, for some folks choosing what they are going to watch all by themselves is hard. Remember these folks like to multi task, while they are being told what to watch and what to buy apparently they also like being told what to talk about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:39am

    I don't use Netflix, but I've noticed when trying to pick a game in Steam that it can get a bit difficult to select anything new from the vast number of games I've collected over the years.
    On Steam, I wouldn't mind a "Random" button (which I count as being similar to the "channel surfing" concept) to counter the "paradox of choice" (where having too much to choose from leads to an inability to decide on anything) there. I'd imagine Netflix could benefit from the option of something that allows you to narrow down a selection, but then selects exactly what to play on its own.

    Aside from that, yeah, scheduled TV can naff off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:05pm

      Re:

      Netflix is based on suggestions. It's always suggesting you watch thing and it's navigation menu is almost all suggestions. It's pretty easy to just click and watch something at random, and if you've rated enough content, it's a fair bet it's something you will enjoy. Works pretty well.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:26pm

        Re: Re:

        "it's a fair bet it's something you will enjoy. Works pretty well."

        I've heard enough people say this that I'm sure it's generally true, but it doesn't work well for me at all. Maybe my tastes are too eclectic for it or something, but I find the odds that I like something Netflix says that I'll like are around 30%.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JP Jones (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 1:29pm

      Re:

      For Steam, have you tried the queues, which show a list of games you may be interested in and/or are popular? Signed up for curators for genres or reviewers you like? Checked the "recently updated" list (sometimes you'll find games that were interesting but still unfinished and you can see a big patch that makes them better)? What about the sales pages, or recommendation pages (popular, new, upcoming, etc)?

      Of all the services I've used for content I find Steam is probably the best at letting me find stuff I'm interested in. I'm somewhat surprised you used Steam as an example of something that doesn't give you enough ways to explore content (this is actually one of my biggest issues with GOG; hard to find games I'm interested in, otherwise a fantastic service).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    limbodog (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:44am

    If my office environment is any indicator, Netflix has in no way quelled the desire of fans to talk about their favorite shows. But, rather than talk about the last episode, they talk about the last season. Ad nauseum.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:48am

    You're either a horrible at conversing or your friends are assholes.

    - Hey have you seen _____? I just finished it last night.
    = Yeah, I haven't finished it yet though, I'm only on episode ____.
    - Hm, what's the last thing that happened on that episode?
    = It ended with ____ happening to ____.
    - Oh yeah! Wasn't it awesome when (prior event not giving spoilers) happened?
    ...

    and so on and so on... Please don't ruin it for everyone because you're too simple minded to either remember the plot order of something you say you enjoy, or don't keep friends that can do the same.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:01am

      Re:

      This exactly. If the friend you talk to are constantly spoiling shows for you, you need a better class of friend or you need to decide that knowledge of future plot points doesn't ruin your enjoyment. Mostly you need friends that can work out a social contract that doesn't destroy watching enjoyment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    lars626, 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:50am

    I'll do it my way.

    I'll watch what I want when I want to. If someone wants to watch a certain show on Tuesday at 8pm fine, go ahead; but don't make me do it that way.

    I watch based on my interest at the time. I prefer to watch good stuff, old and new.

    I have never seen an entire episode of "Friends", and I think I am better off that way after being subjected to 'water-cooler analysis' of too many episodes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:55am

    The new ways are always worse than the old ways...

    ...and that is why the automobile never caught on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    cubicleslave (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:23am

    I would much rather watch NetFlix than cable TV (and frequently do so). Due to my limited free time, NetFlix works for my schedule.
    If something isn't broken, don't fix it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matthew A. Sawtell, 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:39am

    Water Cooler? How many places of work still have them?

    So... how many people can honestly say they have worked, or currently working, at that has Water Coolers? Heck, how many still have a lunch room? Sorry, but there seems to be a very obsolete illusion of what the modern 'common American workplace' looks like.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:01am

    Too Late!

    >Except if you think about it, that actually solves nothing. If I'm able to watch the show on Tuesday night but you've got an evening cheese club meeting, I'll still spoil the show for you when we meet on Wednesday. Here's a crazier idea: we just accept that Netflix is very different from the traditional cable experience (which is still available if that's your preference by the way), and that this is a good thing? It seems so much simpler than endlessly complaining that Netflix isn't more like a cable TV industry most of us agree is in desperate need of a sharp kick in the ass.

    Except this is exactly right - only the DVR has done this already for "broadcast"(??) TV. We wake up Saturday and Sunday morning with a few hours of last weeks' TV to watch. Often, we're more than a week behind. What's the point of "water cooler buzz" when half the people don't want the spoilers? (I've even heard TV and radio saying "we won't tell you the score because a lot of people are PVR'ing the other game..."

    And yet we still binge-watched the recent House of Cards in 3 nights.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MM_Dandy (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:35am

    Spoilers (duh)

    I can't possibly be the only person that watches (and enjoys) YouTube content like How it Should Have Ended and Everything Wrong With.. even for movies and shows that I've never seen. I gave up being devastated by spoilers a long time ago, and somehow, still managed to be entertained, anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:20pm

    I think this would be called anti-marketing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:32pm

    Spoiler Paranoia?

    You think being off a few episodes of House of Cards is bad?, try becoming a Whovian.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:45pm

    People do this?

    Netflix's choice to release seasons all at once is bad because it kills the "water cooler marketing buzz"
    Given a choice between getting the whole thing at once and it taking almost a whole year to get round to showing a 20-week season... Well, I think I'd like to watch stuff at my pace, not yours, thanks!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 1:54pm

    Netflix could fix this if they really wanted to

    Look Netflix, here is a simple fix.

    Introduce an option where a customer can pay an extra fee to their local cable company and Netflix will not allow playing each episode of a series until at least one week after you have watched the previous episode.

    For an additional fee, Netflix could add a fixed time window option where you must watch the episode in a fixed time, such as 7 PM Thursday Evenings. Failure to watch it at that time means you miss it and will not have another opportunity to watch it for one year.

    For people who really want the premium experience, Netflix could charge customers an additional fee that enables them to experience commercials conveniently inserted by Netflix at points in time where something exciting has happened or some major plot twist has just occurred.

    For an additional fee, Netflix could remove your ability to pause the internet stream so that you must watch it live.

    None of these ideas are technically infeasible to implement. Those of us who want a superior experience from Netflix should send them feedback to implement these features at once. This would allow us to blame someone other than Google for a change. (Of course, we still could look for some reason to blame Google for Netflix's lack of the above features.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nic, 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:27pm

    He's right though. Discussion revolving around episodes has pretty much died down. Not everyone is at the same place in watching a new season so attempting to even talk about it is risky as hell.

    People like to chit-chat, speculate about shows and yes, Netflix did change that. And personally, it's something I somewhat miss. I like to binge too but the speculation is indeed something I'll miss.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    swagv (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:54pm

    Netflix is the bargain bin of digital video

    I don't get the Netflix fanboydom. It's cheap, but so is its programming. They deliberately say so.

    Of Spike Lee's 86 essential movies, they only carry 6.

    Netflix had a name in the previous generation of video rental stores: it's called the "bargain bin".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 6:00pm

      Re: Netflix is the bargain bin of digital video

      That has more to do with the studios keeping their stuff off Netflix intentionally in hopes that it will fail.

      They might be missing lots of classic films, but there's plenty on there to see if you're willing to take a chance.

      And they still offer DVDs by mail.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 9:30am

      Re: Netflix is the bargain bin of digital video

      The thing that I love about Netflix is easy to explain: it contains enough content that is interesting to me to last the rest of my life, it is priced more than reasonably, and it has no commercials.

      Just those last two points makes it vastly superior to any other service that I've seen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 5:52pm

    Ignore him

    To be honest, I think Rex Sorgatz is being a busybody just to get attention. Look at me, everyone, I'm complaining about something that's popular!

    And I have the same message to him as I have to all busybodies who like to tell people what to do: what gives you right to tell me I have to watch House of Cards only once a week because you're too afraid of spoilers, so Netflix has to change their schedule because of you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 1:56am

    With traditional TV you get exposed to new things randomly from boredom. It would be a shame to loose that entirely.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JP Jones (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 2:35pm

      Re:

      You don't randomly pick Netflix shows or movies to watch periodically? That's my most common use of Netflix.

      All I've lost is commercial spam, which has probably increased my IQ by at least 10 points. At least, that's what it feels like.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Lance (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 6:55am

    What about books?

    All this talk about how spoilers occur when talking about television shows makes me wonder whether Rex has considered joining a book club. He could be part of a community that is carrying on conversation around a medium of mutual interest. Of course not everyone reads at the same pace; so maybe he would fall behind and still end up lamenting the "spoiler" phenomena.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 18 Mar 2015 @ 7:00am

    The individual must be free to act and the will of the people must be respected.

    What is up with all of these people popping out of the proverbial woodwork to tell me how I should or shouldn't experience TV?!

    They'll be telling me what I ought to be watching, next. /Rant

    But seriously, people, we ought to be permitted to experience what we want, when and where and on whatever platform we want, marketing buzz be damned. And yes, that's what it's about. Disgruntled marketing types trying to tell us how to think. If their business model is failing, that's their problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 9:28am

    I was trying to remember

    Netflix thinks it has performed a noble act by releasing the entire season en masse, but it has actually wreaked havoc on the best part of television: talking about television.


    I've been thinking about this statement because I recognize nothing in it. I was trying to remember the last time that I was involved in, or even overheard, a serious watercooler discussion about a TV show. I think it was right around 1983. I don't think Netflix had anything to do with that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JP Jones (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 2:41pm

      Re: I was trying to remember

      I've been thinking about this statement because I recognize nothing in it.

      I think it's a personality type thing. For many people (primarily extroverts) talking and interacting about a TV show is one of the primary draws of that show. For others (primarily introverts like me) unless the conversation has something to do with deep intellectual concepts behind the show I'm not particularly interested.

      Also, I'd only go to the water cooler to get a cheap plastic cone of water, certainly not to talk about TV shows or anything else. So maybe I'm not the best representative =).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 19 Mar 2015 @ 8:31am

        Re: Re: I was trying to remember

        Yes, it's certainly a personality thing. But I'm still surprised that I don't even overhear such conversations. I overhear lots of conversations about non-work subjects. TV shows are just never one of the topics.

        Perhaps it's a regional thing, though, or the fact that I've spent my life working around various flavors of geeks. Geeks seem to be more likely to have actual hobbies and talk about things relating to those.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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